Revised plans have been submitted for the erection of a new car dealership with a showroom, used car sales area, workshops, bodyshops, maintenance depot, offices, external display areas and car parking on land at Coppice Way in Handforth.
The modern three-storey car showroom will be occupied by Halliwell Jones, who have been searching for a new site for several years to replace their existing sites in the Wilmslow and Handforth area, which are considered no longer fit for purpose.
The project will see the development of a vacant site, adjacent to Handforth Dean retail park, in order to provide a joint BMW & MINI dealership, including servicing and MOT testing within a purpose-built facility.
The ground floor of the car dealership, which will front on to Kiln Croft Lane, will contain the main BMW and Mini showrooms along with 107 storage car parking spaces with additional wet and dry valet parking. Other facilities include an atrium with coffee bar, sales consultants desks, customer lounge and cafe, offices and staff facilities including changing rooms, canteen and bathroom facilities.
The lower ground floor level will house service parking, drop off and service valet bays, service reception, concierge, and various workshops and bodyshop. Whilst the first floor will include a used car sales display with sales desks, offices, meeting rooms and a kitchen.
In addition to the main building, the proposal includes a multi-storey carpark that will provide approximately 136 spaces for staff members. The site will also consist of a used car sales building with a reception, waiting room and offices. This will be located to the north of the site.
External customer parking will be provided at the front of the site along with external car display areas for both BMW and Mini. At the corner of the site, at the junction of Lower Meadow Road and Coppice Way, there will be an area of hardstanding to be used as a premium used car display with associated parking and a sales office.
The new dealership will enable Halliwell Jones to consolidate their sales, servicing and repair activities, which are currently split across three local sites.
The BMW showroom and servicing facilities will be relocated from the existing showroom and servicing workshop located the corner of Manchester Road and Dean Row Road, whilst the Mini showroom and servicing workshop will be relocated from the existing site at Summerfield Village Centre and the existing bodyshop will be moved from the Brooke Park employment area off Lower Meadow Road. Existing staff at these locations will be transferred to the new site.
The proposed development will secure 127 existing jobs and create approximately 45 new permanent jobs.
Halliwell Jones were refused planning permission for a modern car showroom on the vacant 2.43 hectares site by the Strategic Planning Board in August 2018.
The proposed development (planning reference 17/6486M) was refused because it has not been demonstrated that the site is no longer suitable or viable for employment use; the proposal resulted in the loss of open space and no assessment to show the open space is surplus to requirements was submitted.
It was also considered that the proposed development does not adequately reflect the established character of the site or make a positive contribution to the immediate surroundings.
Additionally, the proposal was considered to result in less than substantial harm to the setting of a gradeII* listed building, which is not sufficiently justified, it was anticipated that there would be a significant loss of woodland cover, no survey had been carried out to determine the presence of roosting bats and the proposals to address the loss of habitat, which is considered to be of sufficient value to be designated as a Local Wildlife Site, were inadequate.
Also, the submitted ecological assessment did not consider the potential impact of the proposed development upon Great Crested Newts associated with the ponds located at Handforth Hall.
The revised plans can be viewed on the Cheshire East Council website by searching for planning reference 18/6404M . The last date for submitting comments is February 14th and a decision is expected by 22nd March 2019.